Seth MacFarlane’s talent for live action films is definitely improving. The author of some of the most successful and funniest animated TV Series of the last decade (Family Guy, American Dad) has hit again in the movie theatres with a new product, out of the territory of cartoons. After Ted, the story of the wry and not politically correct teddy bear, this time he brings us to the old west, precisely to the year 1882.
In the small town of Old Stump, Arizona, Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) is a cowardly sheep farmer with a bad verve for being a shepherd and also for attracting women. His beloved girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him for Foy (Neil Patrick Harris), one of the richest and most arrogant men in the town, owner of a lustful moustachery. At the beginning Albert is desperate and miserable, insulted by his parents and abandoned to his destiny of a loser in the dangerous and tough environment of the old west, but afterwards he finds something to cheer himself up. A mysterious woman, Anna (Charlize Theron), extremely beautiful and very good with guns, she helps him to find a new reason for loving his life. Over the course of his adventure Albert passes through a big list of causes for being unhappy and for dying in the west. Amongst them there are terrible diseases, Indian attacks, duels, and unbecoming meetings with outlaws such as Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson).
The plot is a very typical western story, which includes common stereotypes like the weak hero who then becomes brave, or the ruthless criminal who terrorizes a small town and its inhabitants. Nevertheless, this outline is enriched with fresh, original elements and funny, at times vulgar, gags that transform the movie into a pleasant and compelling distraction from everyday life. Some characters and situations are very well studied and work amazingly. An example of this is the Christian hooker (Sarah Silverman), known for having sex with the whole town but not willing to do the same with her boyfriend (Giovanni Ribisi) before marriage. Another very irreverent situation is when Albert, captured by the Indians, convinces them to be a friend after learning to speak their language. While staying with the Indians, Albert also finds the courage to challenge Clinch Leatherwood after ingesting a psychedelic drug. In his subconscious he has encounters with giant sheep, with Foy’s moustache, and piles of turd put under his pillow by his dad when he was only a kid expecting the tooth fairy.
…a good cocktail of brilliant characters, bizarre dynamics, and witty narrative twists…
The comical style is in line with Seth MacFarlane’s approach to comedy, even though this time he has stuck less to the model of Family Guy, like he did in Ted. The result is a good cocktail of brilliant characters, bizarre dynamics, and witty narrative twists. The whole film is well measured in its way to dive into a typical but still fresh story and in lead the audience to unexpected and never banal hilarious moments.
It is a very good movie for those who love edging characters, juicy dialogues and striking but absurd atmospheres that only Seth MacFarlane can recreate. If you want to spend a couple of hours of laughter and relax, perhaps it’s the time to stop by in the nearest movie theatre, and to find out all the million ways to die in the old west along with Seth MacFarlane and his professional crew of jokers.